Tag Archives: Responsible New York

Four Men, A Billion Dollars, and some Patronage Jobs in a Room

10 Jun

Tom Golisano posted a self-congratulatory, self-indulgent post at the Responsible New York blog today, and concludes with this :

One important concrete change is that with these rules reforms and coalition government all 62 senators will play a role in negotiating the next budget. That means in one fell swoop one of the infamous “three men in the room” is gone. Who’s next? Hopefully there are some members of the State Assembly who are willing to put reform above party and the people above politics.

Yeah, now there’s four men in the room, and one of them has a billion dollars in the bank. This is strictly third world stuff we’re talking about. But at least some of the comments are hilarious.

Dear Tom Golisano:

19 May

I read this in the Buffalo News yesterday:

“I wish there were 100,000 people standing behind me feeling the same way and acting the same way, but they’re not,” Golisano told reporters at the state Capitol. But, he added, he still feels a sense of responsibility to stay engaged in trying to change the ways of Albany — even if he has moved his legal residence to Naples, Fla.

There are a million people, probably more, who feel the same way as you about reforming New York, its taxation structure, its spending, and the general way it does business. We can’t all “act the same way” because we’re not billionaires. But many of us try, and still more have tried, to effect some change, with varying degrees of success.

I did a post last week that highlighted the fact that it’s no big surprise, and in no way unique for you to move to Florida. People move to Florida from western New York every day. It just so happens that you’re a politically connected billionaire, so there’s more at stake when it’s a guy like you leaving.

But back to your “wish” of having 100,000 people standing behind you – when exactly did you invite them? Responsible New York was never a grassroots organization. It never tried to organize people to take action – or really do anything whatsoever.

All you did was throw some money at some people whom you liked better than other people. You apparently helped to fund a vicious and likely illegal effort to obliterate Sam Hoyt and his reputation. Your political organization was a top-down affair run by one of the most divisive political figures western New York has ever seen. By selecting that person to run Responsible New York, it lost pretty much all of its credibility as a change agent, and guaranteed that its successes would be accidents.

Throwing money at races is fine, but money doesn’t always win the race. I’m quite sure that a well-organized, well-funded effort to organize average people to effect change in New York State government(s) would find a warm reception in every corner of the state. Imagine if there was a group representing average taxpayers that could rival the lobbying prowess and spending ability of the big special interests and unions that run the show in Albany.

You never set that up, though. Instead, you just wrote some checks and put up a totally non-transparent website that didn’t even have any sort of social media aspect to it – except a seldom-updated blog – so that the people you pretended to be representing in that effort could communicate with you, and with each other, and get involved.

I guess the upshot of it all is, don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining. Responsible New York was never about change and reform. It’s about kingmaking and backscratching.

As for your grandstanding on taxes, I only wish that the unfriendly business climate in New York could someday enable my taxes to go up by $5 million per year when the rate is raised by 2.12%. Hope you enjoy Florida. I hear Naples is really gorgeous.



Deep Thought

17 May

Now that Golisano is moving to Florida, will he pour money into candidates’ coffers and (allegedly) also maintain close ties and coordinate with those campaigns?

Or is that sort of benefaction only reserved for New York State races?

Responsible New York & Buffalo’s Kremlin

3 May

In today’s Buffalo News, Bob McCarthy suggests that Tom Golisano’s Responsible New York organization will most likely be backing Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in the upcoming mayoral election.

Here’s the link to Responsible New York’s “Pledge to New York”.

It would seem to me that backing the hyperpolitical and ultra-secretive Brown Administration would run counter to several of Golisano’s stated objectives.

I’m not quite sure how re-electing the Casey politburo helps the “many”, but I’ll be looking forward to the verbal gymnastics.

Electoral Fusion & “Reform”

26 Apr

What on earth is the point of running a political party if it’s going to be completely controlled by another political party? What purpose is served?

While I agree with a lot of what Golisano’s “Responsible New York” stands for vis-a-vis reformation of state government, his alliance with supremely political tin-pot Machiavellis indicates to me (and a lot of other people) that “reform” is secondary to “power”. Need proof? Ask Joe Mesi who raised funds for whom to get him that cush liaison job for the State Senate, of all things.

If a political party gets a ballot line, it should be putting up its own candidates. Period. This is supposed to be a marketplace of ideas – not a marketplace of backroom deals and quid-pro-quos. Electoral fusion is one of the reasons why incumbents continue to win, is a source of political patronage. The Independence Party simply isn’t.

Like an Albanian Blood Feud

31 Mar

Is the fight between Steve Pigeon and Sam Hoyt. A mailer such as this outside of an election cycle? Pretty much unprecedented.

David Paterson and the Stuff He Wants to Tax

18 Dec

Paterson and his budg-shit, which should be given a moniker such as “The Flee New York Tax Act” or somesuch, have been roundly criticized just about everywhere I’ve been on the vast tubes of teh internets. Even on Twitter, someone referred to it as “Epic Fail”.

There’s one forward-thinking and very well-funded special interest group that thinks the budget is not just dandy, but worthy of praise. This despite the fact that it nickels and dimes the middle class, barely touches the extraordinarily wealthy, and has the unmitigated gall to simultaneously raise spending by over a billion dollars.

Responsible New York‘s founder Tom Golisano praises Paterson for “like, ZOMG, the bestest budget ever“. Well, maybe that’s not a direct quote, but I have to question the intentions and sanity of a Western New York-based organization such as RNY for saying something as patently idiotic as this.

Worth it for the picture alone

3 Dec

Clicky clicky

Byron Brown for US Senate?

2 Dec

It’s definitely possible.

Anyone with a memory of Mayor Brown’s illustrious career in the State Senate will remember that, of four ground-breaking bills he introduced, three involved changing the names of certain streets in the 60th SD.

That’s street-name change we can believe in. Seriously good government, earth-shattering stuff.

Brown is mentioned in this New York Times City Room piece, and I wondered why it was that the Times would be talking up Brown. Sure, they got a quote from his Grassroots teammate Antoine Thompson. But then the source of the article became clear:

“Byron would be great in that position,” said Steven Pigeon, a former Erie County Democratic Party chairman. “And I’m one of the people promoting him. I think it would mean a tremendous amount to the people of western New York to have him there.”

Mr. Pigeon is also a co-chairman of Responsible New York, a political organization backed by the Rochester billionaire Tom Golisano.

“He would be great for the whole state,” Mr. Pigeon said. “He can deal with people in urban, suburban and rural parts of the state. He’s done it his whole career. If the governor is inclined to consider anyone from western New York, he’s the person that makes the most sense.”

Any buzz, therefore, about Brown going to the US Senate, is in Pigeon’s head.

Think about the Brown administration’s ham-handedness and insular secrecy. Think of the utter charade that is a CitiStat meeting. Think of the hirings and subsequent, often rapid, departures of people to help run the Brown administration. Think of Casey’s cameras, and the way in which their camp has tried (and usually failed) to take over the county Democratic committee, and allegedly used scare tactics and intimidation in order to do it. Think about how City Hall requires a FOIL request for the most routine public record. If you think party machines are bad, evil would-be party machines are worse.

The only viable, responsible choice from upstate to replace Senator Clinton would be Brian Higgins.

Although the thought of sending Steve Casey 500 miles from Buffalo is an attractive idea.

(Photo via cluckbucket @ Flickr)

Golisano & Mohr – So Happy Together

2 Nov

Couldn’t Golisano have picked someone less controversial to run his nascent political operation? You know, someone like Ted Stevens or Larry Craig?